Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower

Dear Jersey Jim Enthusiasts:

Your tower volunteers have been bragging for the 30+ years we’ve been taking care of the tower that we never have to clean the cab. Our guests love it so much they care for it almost better than we do. We make sure it is clean, supplied and ready for our first guests and you take it from there. Seldom did we hear that the previous person had left a mess and when they did, it was written up in the guest book so that those who followed took care not to be written up with the same disdain.

This season however, following 2020, has not been the case. There are repeated reports of the lack of cleanliness of the cab. The hummingbird feeders have been found molded which can kill the birds. The cast iron pan has been left with grease and wet rags in it. The floors were not swept or mopped when needed, things have not been tidied up. Very disappointing for all of us.

This will be a topic of much discussion when we meet as a group this fall. Though we probably will not change the fee, we may need to consider how to impose additional charges to those who do not respect our rules and do not cooperate. That is something we never thought we would have to do.

The tower experience is unique – RESPECTED and enjoyed by so few each season. People, it’s not a big space! You are adults. Accept the responsibility you are privileged to have by getting a reservation! This is YOUR/OUR property! Take pride in it just as we do!

Thank you to all those who do appreciate the opportunity you have been given and take such great care of our historical resource so we may continue to offer this for many more years to come.

JERSEY JIM FIRE LOOKOUT TOWER Live a little bit of history and enjoy an incredible view in Southwestern Colorado with an overnight stay at the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower. Formerly used to detect fires, the live-in tower rises from an aspen-lined meadow in the San Juan National Forest at almost 10,000 feet above sea level. The Jersey Jim was home to U.S. Forest Service fire lookouts from the 1940's to the 1970's. An historic log book inside its cab, or living quarters, chronicles their experiences. The Tower was renovated and saved from demolition in 1991 by the Jersey Jim Foundation, a non-profit volunteer organization, which operates and maintains the Tower under permit with the San Juan National Forest.

Correspondence and Contributions can be mailed to:

Jersey Jim Foundation P.O. Box 1032 Mancos, CO 81328

The renovated tower is located 14 miles north of Mancos on Forest Road #561, a well-graveled forest road accessible by two-wheel-drive vehicles. Travelers should watch for livestock and wildlife and keep speeds under 30 miles per hour. The Tower cab includes the original furniture and propane heating and lighting. Guests must bring their own supplies. Water is available from a hand pump at Transfer Campground four miles before the Tower on Forest Road #561. Water and supplies can be hoisted up to the cab via a pulley. Visitors are asked to follow basic rules of sanitation. Trash should be bagged and removed from the premises. Hiking and scenic driving opportunities abound nearby. Visitors should be prepared for high altitude conditions. Summertime temperatures average 75 degrees but can drop as low as 40 degrees at night or during thunder storms. Available within an hour's drive via U.S. Highway 160 (part of the San Juan Skyway) are Mesa Verde National Park, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train and the Anasazi Heritage Center. Information on the San Juan National Forest and nearby attractions can be found at the Mancos Visitor Center and Dolores Ranger District just minutes away. Gas, groceries, hardware, motels, restaurant, churches and medical services are also available in Mancos.


Bookings start March 1st at 1:00pm MST. Any reservations prior to that date/time will not be approved.




Since the cab and deck are 55 feet above the ground, visitors to the cab do so at their own risk and must observe the following Safety Rules:

  • Groups occupying the Tower overnight are restricted to a maximum of four persons, including at least one adult over 21.
  • Children under 8 years old are not allowed on the Tower.
  • Smoking, alcoholic beverages, drugs, fireworks or firearms are not permitted in or around the Tower.
  • Climbing the Tower structure outside of the enclosed stairs is forbidden.
  • Nothing is to be thrown from the Tower deck.
  • Sleeping on the deck, sitting on the railing, horseplay or unruly behavior are prohibited.
  • Use hand rail when ascending or descending stairs.
  • During lightning storms, stay in the cab and do not touch metal furnishings.
  • Instructions for lighting propane lamps and stove, and additional information on lighting are provided in the Information Manual at the Tower and should be read immediately upon arrival.
  • For security reasons, the gate at the bottom of the stairs should be locked to prevent entry from the outside.
  • Disclaimer agreement is required.
  • No sub-renting allowed.


  • Propane refrigerator
  • Propane heater with fuel - Propane lamps
  • One double bed - Propane stove with small oven
  • Four folding chairs and table
  • Hoist (pulley and rope)
  • Broom, dust pan, and mop
  • Tower Instruction Manual Historic firefinder
  • Tower history and historic log books
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • USFS dishes - 20 piece set


  • Water
  • Bedding/sleeping bags
  • Sleeping pads or cots
  • Water containers
  • Food
  • Paper towels
  • Wooden matches
  • Trash bags
  • Warm clothing and rain gear
  • Toilet articles, tissue
  • First aid equipment
  • Large battery lantern or flashlight
  • Camera - Binoculars - Insect spray/repellent
  • Tower keys
  • Sunscreen
  • Ice chest